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Superhero Meets Cyberpunk in Bloodshot

by Alex Woods

You Probably Missed Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot

Bloodshot is the latest quasi-cyberpunk movie based on the comic book superhero from Valiant Comics. Directed by David S. F. Wilson in his directorial debut, it was produced by Neal Moritz and Vin Diesel (Fast & Furious). Bloodshot was meant to be the first installment in a series of films set in a Valiant Comics shared cinematic universe. But after the pandemic put everyone’s plans on hold, it’s anybody’s guess whether this will actually be the first part of a series of films.

Vin Diesel as Bloodshot
Vin Diesel as Bloodshot

The Plot for Bloodshot

This is a slick action-focused flick starring Vin Diesel as Raymond “Ray” Garrison, a marine who nearly dies trying to prevent his wife’s murder. Garrison is saved by a team of scientists who implant their life-saving nanotechnologies into him. The nanites grant him superhuman strength, senses, and healing factors. Having woken up with amnesia after the operation, memories start to come back to him as he trains with fellow super-soldiers.

That is, until he breaks out of the R&D facility to find the man that killed his wife.  But in Bloodshot, nothing is as it seems. Garrison begins a journey to regain his memory and rediscover an unclear past.

Bloodshot’s Got A Great Cast

In addition to Vin Diesel in the titular role, we have Guy Pearce (Iron Man 3). Pierce portrays lead scientist Dr. Emil Harting, who’s in charge of bringing Garrison back to life. As he did in Iron Man 3, Pearce delivers another excellent performance of being serious, intelligent, ambitious, and dangerous all at the same time. Apparently, Jared Leto had been considered for the role. This would have been another cyberpunk film for him to star in after Blade Runner 2049, but ultimately the role went to Diesel as I guess they wanted the film to be more focused on the action.

Also cast are Sam Heughan (Outlander) as a fellow enhanced soldier and rival, and Eida Gonzalez as KT, another fellow enhanced soldier sympathetic to Ray. Also starring is Talulah Riley (Pride & Prejudice, Inception) as Ray’s wife, Lamorne Morris (New Girl) as computer programmer Wilfred Wigans, and Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four, Black Mirror) as one of the villains.

Of all the members of the cast, the only performance that stood out for me was Morris’ role as Wigans. 


We only meet him halfway through the film, but he provides a fun, refreshing dose of comedic relief that really lightens up an otherwise incredibly somber movie. Up until that point, Bloodshot feels like it takes itself too seriously.

Nanites, the source of Bloodshot's enhancements
Nanites, the source of Bloodshot's enhancements

Bloodshot’s High-Tech is Straight Up Cyberpunk

Bloodshot has a smattering of high-tech elements. Noteworthy is Pearce’s cybernetic hand, along with other slightly augmented super-soldiers. One has bionic legs, which is pretty common to see. But another has a bionic chestplate that serves as his eyes. Another character has a bionic breathing apparatus that was a novel idea in my opinion. Dr. Harting calls it laryngotracheal reconstruction with a clavicle-mounted respirator. That pretty much means she can breathe through her chest.

Other tech includes bionical arms and portable drones with cameras that create live 3D video feeds delivered straight inside a soldier’s helmet. This creates a bird’s-eye view on the go.

The tech that gives Bloodshot his superpower are the nanites that course through his bloodstream, giving him super strength and health regeneration. Surprisingly, an additional bonus is the ability to both access the internet and be accessed by the internet at the same time. This allows him to download skills and schematics much like Neo did to learn Kung Fu, or like Trinity did to learn how to fly a helicopter in The Matrix. It also allows him to retrieve information from the internet much like RoboCop might do to access location data or outstanding arrest warrants.

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Reality Construction Using Altered Memories

46 minutes in, we are given the twist that was perhaps somewhat ruined by the trailer. If you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t spoil it for you. What I will mention is that I really liked the virtual spaces that feature briefly in the film, as well as the moments Bloodshot questions both reality and his memory. Similar ideas were so well covered in Total Recall and other cyberpunk movies. 

“It’s like what you think is real sometimes ain’t,” explained a very colloquial Wigans.

Vin Diesel and Sam Heugan in Bloodshot

Slow-Motion Over-The-Top Action Scenes

One of the first action sequences we see is a scene in a tunnel with a flour truck that has spilled all its flour on the ground.  A convoy of military henchmen are using flares to defend themselves against an oncoming Bloodshot. Later action sequences involve more augmented soldiers in a Parkour-style chase scene including drones, a facility breakout scene, and an epic battle near the end of the film (almost always to be expected for any major action film).

The CGI is Pretty Heavy-Handed

There are moments when the use of CGI feels a bit heavy-handed, almost like the movie has suddenly turned into a video game cutscene. I’m not sure if it was their intention to do this or if they just really wanted super-cool action scenes, but it took me out of the movie a bit. 

Vin Diesel as Bloodshot
Vin Diesel as Bloodshot

Bloodshot Has its Highs and Lows

Bloodshot takes old familiar concepts and repackages them with some nice updated special effects, making for a good action film. However, it lacks compelling characters or substantial plot, and is absent of any new deep ideas. Although I enjoyed the film, if I had to pinpoint where exactly this film misstepped, it would be the lack of connection between the audience and the main character. The entire film is based on the premise that we, the audience, should connect with him on a certain level and certainly care if he dies or not. It’s almost an assumption that we should care based on how everyone else acts around Bloodshot, but the film simply didn’t deliver. Vin Diesel is a great action actor, but his strengths aren’t in conveying emotion. Unfortunately, that was the missing element in this film.

 My final verdict is a 7 out of 10.

If you’re looking for characters to connect with or a fascinating story, this movie might not fit the bill.  But if you’re looking for an action film with a bit of a cyberpunk twist, then this is a pretty good choice. So if you want to spend a few hours with some fun action sequences and high production value, then Bloodshot is a film not to be missed.

We know cyberpunk movies, so let us tell you what you’re missing. What’s timeless? What didn’t age so well? Share this article, and we’ll make the case for Bloodshot.

Did we miss something here? Was there an unforgettable scene or classic one-liner that just shouldn’t be left out? What are your favorite parts of this movie? Leave us a comment below, and we’ll try to update the article with your suggestions!

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